In the middle years of the second century BC, Rome was engaged in the conquest and pacification of what is now Spain and Portugal. They met with determined resistance from several tribes but nobody defied them with more determination and skill than Viriathus. Apparently of humble birth, he emerged as a leader after the treacherous massacre of the existing tribal chieftains and soon proved himself a gifted and audacious commander. Relying on hit and run guerrilla tactics, he inflicted repeated humiliating reverses upon the theoretically superior Roman forces, uniting a number of tribes in resistance to the invader and stalling their efforts at conquest and pacification for eight years. Still unbeaten in the field, he was only overcome when the Romans resorted to bribing some of his own men to assassinate him (though they reneged on the agreed payment, claiming they did not reward traitors!). Though renowned in his day Viriathus has been neglected by modern historians, a travesty that Luis Silva puts right in this thoroughly researched and accessible account. Portuguese by birth, the author draws on Portuguese research and perspectives that will be refreshing to English-language scholars and his own military experience also informs his analysis of events. What emerges is a stirring account of defiance, heroic resistance against the odds and, ultimately, treachery and tragedy.
Romans had tried to impose order on the Iberian Peninsula for three generations. The native populations there have finally found a leader who can go toe to toe with their foreign governors, a man named Viriathus. This novel is about the Roman efforts to defeat Viriathus and his ingenious attempts to turn the tables on the invaders.
Following the Second Punic War in 202 B.C. when the Carthaginians were finally ousted from Iberia, Rome thought that they were now in control of the region. Soon, however, they found themselves pitted against an unexpected foe: the native Iberio-Celts, the Lusitanians. With one occupier gone, the Lusitanians took the opportunity to oppose their replacement, the Romans, in an effort to establish their own nation. Led by the charismatic Viriathus, whose example instilled the same kind of fury and devotion as the future Celtic warrior queen Boudica, the Lusitanians began a bitter war with the Romans in 155 B.C. that would rage on and off for the next twenty-five years. Despite their military advantage, the Romans could not at first defeat the Lusitanians, so they offered a peace treaty. A large number of Lusitanians and their key leaders arrived at the designated meeting point, only to be massacred. Viriathus managed to escape the deadly trap and rallied his people to continue the fight. Knowing that they did not have the numbers of trained soldiers to oppose the Roman Army, Viriathus developed a guerrilla campaign of hit-and-run tactics and attrition. After years of stalemate, the Romans once again sued for peace. Following a short truce, however, the war resumed but the Romans still could not subdue the Lusitanians. Finally, they resorted to paying assassins to do what their army could not: kill Viriathus. With his death, the Lusitanian resistance collapsed and Rome secured Iberia as a province of the empire. Based on classical sources and Portuguese and Spanish language archival material, The Lusitanian War: Viriathus the Iberian Against Rome is the first booklength study of this fascinating leader and the important campaign he waged. His style of warfare had a profound influence on future Roman Army tactics when fighting native troops.
Based on classical sources and Portuguese and Spanish-language archival material, the first book-length study of Viriathus, a leader of the Lusitanians, and the important campaign he waged focuses on his style of warfare, which had a profound influence on Roman Army tactics when fighting native troops.
As the author makes clear, every book has a history; Guerrilla Warfare is noexception. Together with its sequel Terrorism (and two companion readers) it was part of a wider study: to give a critical interpretation of guerrilla and terrorism theory and practice throughout history. It did not aim at providing a general theory of political violence, nor did it give instructions on how to conduct guerrilla warfare and terrorist operations. Its aim remains to bring about greater semantic and analytic clarity, and to do so at psychological as well as political levels. While the word guerrilla has been very popular, much less attention has been given to guerrilla warfare than to terrorism - even though the former has been politically more successful. The reasons for the lack of detailed attention are obvious: guerrilla operations take place far from big cities, in the countryside, in remote regions of a nation. In such areas there are no film cameras or recorders. In his probing new introduction, Laqueur points out that a review of strategies and the fate of guerrilla movements during the last two decades show certain common features. Both mainly concerned nationalists fighting for independence either against foreign occupants or against other ethnic groups within their own country. But despite the many attempts, only in two placesâAfghanistan and Chechnya âwere the guerrillas successful. According to Laqueur historical experience demonstrates that guerrilla movements have prevailed over incumbents only in specific conditions. Due to a constellation of factors, ranging from modern means of observation to increase in firepower. The author suggests that we may witness a combination of political warfare, propaganda, guerrilla operations and terrorism. In such cases, this could be a potent strategy for unsponsored revolutionary change. But either as social history or military strategy this work remains a crucial work of our times.